A historic away win over UP-Tuks in Pretoria saw the NWU Eagles boost their chances of finishing in the Varsity Cup’s top four and condemned the defending champions to a relegation scrap.
NWU shrugged off an early red card to hooker Vernon Paulo and held out against a late fightback from the title holders to claim 26-22 victory on Monday night.
The win saw the Eagles return to winning ways after a home loss to Maties in round three and reclaim top spot on the Varsity Cup table.
For Tuks, it was a fourth straight loss that saw the defending champions rooted to the bottom of the table, making their next three games must-wins to avoid the prospect of automatic relegation or a relegation playoff. Tuks next face two tough outings against Maties and Wits away, before finishing against UJ in Pretoria.
NWU led 26-15 in the second half, thanks to an excellent brace from fullback Tino Swanepoel, the first of his tries coming from a sensational linebreak down the right wing.
?Tino Swanepoel with a sensational solo effort from inside his own half to score for @theNWU !
— Varsity Cup (@varsitycup) March 13, 2023
Tuks, who got off to a flying start in the first half, continued to fight bravely and dominated the final 20 minutes, getting themselves back into the contest through a quick-tap try from loosehead prop Ethan Burger. However, it was not to be as the Stripe Generation fell to a fourth successive loss, which effectively dashed their hopes of retaining their title.
Photo: CATHERINE KOTZE